On Saturday, March 14, the Winthrop High School Drama Society will head to the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild (METG) semi-finals to perform their student-written script, Fallen, at Danvers High School. Seniors, Maria Tracy, Fiona MacPhail and Samantha Long are responsible for organizing, editing and adapting the script that is derived from the plot of Paradise Lost, a poem written by John Milton, which is comprised of the biblical story surrounding the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan.
Director and drama teacher, Karen Calinda chose the name Fallen for the script.
“I think that the title Fallen is very appropriate for our interpretation of Milton’s story, because our Fallen is a new take on the universally known character of Satan,” said Long. “Why did this angel fall? What is the devil’s true origin story? What happens on the journey to the Garden of Eden? This is a deeply flawed and, in turn, somewhat relatable character for the audience.”
Long shared that the plot is pretty heavy stuff, unique to scripts the Drama Society has done in the past. Since Long has been active in drama, the fest show has been a piece of adapted or original work (Antigone, Faustus, and Golem), and the Paradise Lost script was used as a launching pad for the final version of the performance that will be executed on Saturday.
“We also used writing submitted and suggested by many members of the whole cast– everyone’s voice is in this script in one way or another, which is really great. I definitely ended up taking a leadership role in adapting the script, and I am so lucky to work with a group of peers who understand how much I love to write and let me sort of take over. I have absolutely loved writing for this show.”
The final script was a result of brainstorming sessions that involved the entire cast, and everyone wrote a poem related to their own personal interpretation of the play. While the original script of Paradise Lost was the basis for Fallen, the majority of the ideas for the final script were original.
“In the original script that we read through, the language was incredibly complicated and even hard for us to understand so we thought the audience would not understand it either,” said Maria Tracy. “In the past years, we’ve had a lot of success with our cast-written productions so we decided it would be good to write it ourselves again.”
When asked if they are nervous for the semi-finals, both Long and Tracy said that it is more about sharing their creation and watching the other schools perform.
“The competition element is certainly nerve wracking but I think as a cast and crew our main goal is to show others what we have been working so hard on for so long,” said Tracy. “I think every year there are so many good schools that compete but, as a company, our main goal is to share what we created rather than truly win.”
“My frame of mind is always this: it really is a privilege to be able to not only present the show we’ve worked so hard on, but also get to see the shows which the amazing people at other schools have worked so hard on,” said Long. “Of course we want to be the best and move on, but at the end of the day, we remember to enjoy ourselves and feel lucky to be part of such a special event. That being said… we definitely want to bring the house down at semi-finals.”
The semi-finals will start at 9 a.m. on March 14, at Danvers High School, and Winthrop will perform at 1:30 p.m. If they make it to the final round, they will perform, March 26-28.
For more information, please check out: https://metg.org/.